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Race, Power, and Repatriation


Every single domestic war waged by the United States government against the American people in this century has been a failure. The war on alcohol — a failure. The war on poverty — a failure. The war on drugs — a failure. The War on illiteracy — a failure.

But perhaps the biggest failure of all has been the War on Racism. Racial bigotry in America is at an all-time high — despite an all-out, concerted effort by the U.S. government to stamp it out.

The Civil War may have freed blacks from slavery, but it did not erase the sentiments which many whites had against blacks. The mind-set which considered the black man inferior to the white man continued to exist in America. And since blacks could no longer be held in legal bondage, the white bigots had to figure out ways “to keep the Negro in his place.”

What were the methods chosen? Economic regulations and segregation laws. For economic regulations would ensure that blacks would be denied entry into many economic enterprises. And segregation laws would ensure that blacks would be kept separate from whites.

Thus, through perversions of law, bigots were able to impose a very sophisticated, new form of slavery on blacks.

Then came the civil-rights movement in the 1950s. Through marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations, blacks began revolting against the separation of races which state and local governments had mandated in both the public and private sectors.

What would have been the ideal approach to the evils of economic regulations and segregation laws? Simply to repeal them! This would have meant that blacks would have been able to compete freely against others in any economic enterprise — and without having to seek permission from the state. It would have also meant that state and local governments could no longer discriminate in the public sector. But it also would have meant that private individuals would be left free to discriminate or not in the marketplace.

In the 1960s, the U.S. government declared its war on racism in America. Unfortunately, however, the government failed to take any steps to end economic regulations by state and local governments. And rather than simply ending state-mandated segregation — in both the public and private sectors — the government took two additional, devastating steps. First, people were forced to integrate their private enterprises, that is, discrimination on a purely private and voluntary basis was made illegal. Second, through affirmative-action programs, the legal and political system was used to benefit blacks at the expense of whites.

Was the U.S. government’s war on racism due to some newly found concern for black people? Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. government has been — and is — one of the most bigoted governments in history. For example, prior to America’s entry into World War 11, Adolf Hitler offered to send Germany’s Jews to any nation which was willing to take them. The U.S. government’s response? America was not going to be a haven for Jews. Thus, immigration restrictions against Jews were raised, not lowered, despite the fact that American governmental officials knew that Hitler was sending them to German concentration camps.

Another example: after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government rounded up thousands of Americans of Japanese descent and sent them to American concentration camps. It justified its actions by saying, “We are at war with Japan.” Actually, the motivation was a racial one — the government’s prejudice against Orientals was even greater than it was against Jews. After all, did the government jail German-Americans or Italian-Americans after Germany and Italy declared war on America? Of course not — they were Caucasians. But Orientals were “different” from Americans, and, even worse, “they all looked alike.” And lest anyone think that this was an isolated example of racial prejudice against Orientals, all he has to do is review all of the economic legislation, i.e., in California, which had been directed against Japanese-Americans for years prior to the war.

The bigotry which infected the U.S. government at that time is no different today. For example, the British government has been forcing Vietnamese refugees to return to Vietnam. And the American government’s reaction to this outrageous and immoral conduct? Just a nice, polite statement in opposition — and that’s all! Why not a condemnation of the British government — the same type of condemnation hurled against “bad” governments? Because these refugees are “only” Orientals — they don’t matter — they all “look alike.”

The irony is that the U.S. government today continues its charade with respect to the 60,000 American men and women killed in the Vietnam War: the government continues to swear that those deaths were necessary to protect the South Vietnamese people from the evils of communism. And the American people, unfortunately, continue to believe this nonsense. The war had nothing to do with the well-being of Orientals. After all, if there was so much concern over the South Vietnamese having to live under communist tyranny, then why isn’t the U.S. government today letting the Vietnamese refugees immigrate to the U.S. instead of watching them be forcibly repatriated to communist Vietnam? This longtime prejudice against Orientals is further reflected in current governmental attempts to prohibit Americans from freely trading with the Japanese people. Rather than accept, the responsibility for the economic failure of the American welfare state and regulated economy, governmental officials continue to blame Orientals for America’s woes.

Another example: the Haitians who are fleeing the tyranny in their country. Why not allow them to immigrate to the U.S.? After all, if thousands of white British were fleeing tyranny, would there be a problem letting them come to America? Of course not. But the Haitians are black — and poor. Therefore, the U.S. government does not wish them to further “pollute the purity” of America. Thus, despite all of its pronouncements about the importance of people living in free and democratic societies, the U.S. government forces — at the point of a gun — the repatriation of blacks to the tyrannical, authoritarian government of Haiti.

A digression: if people think that these are the American and British governments’ first experiences with forcible repatriation, they are sadly mistaken. For who can forget what these two governments did to thousands of anticommunist Russian people after World War II? They forced them — at gunpoint — into the clutches of Joseph Stalin, the close, communist friend of American and British governmental officials. And not even their violent resistance, their cries of anguish, or their attempted suicides were able to dissuade the American and British governments from helping to send these people to their deaths in Russian concentration camps.

The racial situation in America is like a pressure-cooker. It will continue to build up steam until the top finally blows off. Despite the government’s professed concern for racial minorities, the truth is that it is entirely a power game. The government uses its overwhelming power over the American people to: (1) forcibly integrate people against their will; and (2) though affirmative-action programs, grant special privileges to politically privileged racial minorities.

The problem, however, is that when bigots are not permitted to vent their prejudices in the marketplace — where they would have to accept the consequences in terms of reduced revenue — and when their rights are trampled upon for the benefit of the people they despise, they ultimately will resort to the political process for retaliation. Blacks and other racial minorities could reap the whirlwind arising from the legal and political perversion which has taken place in this nation — for laws which are used to benefit some at the expense of others can be reversed in order to benefit the latter at the expense of the former.

The solution to all of this is very simple but, unfortunately, not one which the American government will permit: prohibit governments at all levels from regulating economic activity; prohibit both segregation and integration laws; provide for equal treatment under law regardless of race, color, or creed; and end the tyranny of trade restrictions and immigration controls. The ultimate solution to the United States government’s failed war on racism — as with all other ways which it has waged against the American people — lies in freedom and the market process.

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.